Scottish retailers have benefited from an increase in alcohol sales since the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) on 1 May, according to new research from The Retail Data Partnership.

The study of 129 Scottish stores found alcohol sales values increased by 14.9% between May and July this year, when compared to the same period last year, with premium brands gaining share.

The amount that alcohol sales contributed to total store turnover also increased, from 16.31% in 2017 to 18.2% in 2018.

Commenting on the findings, Stephen Burnett, md of The Retail Data Partnership, said: “It’s probably too early to assess the overall effect of MUP on the number of alcohol units being sold in Scotland. Our figures to date don’t show any real decrease, but we have had an exceptional summer, and soft drinks sales have also been excellent. During Q1 2019 we should be in a better position to evaluate the overall impact of MUP.

“The warm weather and the World Cup impacted sales across the board in the first half of 2018, with the impact being greater in the rest of the UK,” he continued. ”The rate of increase in Scotland may have been affected by MUP, whilst overall sales as a percentage still remains significantly higher in Scotland.”

The data shows that gin sales leaped hugely in the past year, while Smirnoff vodka gained market share at the expense of Glen’s, indicating a shift towards premium brands as an outcome of MUP.

In a smaller sample of Scottish stores, The Retail Data Partnership also found that most retailers were compliant with minimum unit pricing law, with a few exceptions.

Seven stores were found to be selling Perla Polish 7.6% ABV at less than 50p per unit, while five stores were found to non-compliant when selling Karpackie Super Mocne Polish 9% ABV.

However, Burnett suggested the figures for non-compliant stores could be far greater.

He said: “These non-compliance figures may not be representative because our Epos system has a MUP-warning function that alerts retailers when an alcohol price is non-compliant. In stores which don’t have such an alert, compliance may not be as high.”